Our weekly newsletter Field Guide looks at how different cultures play with the same concepts—from voting and water access to movie-making and whiskey. Each issue features an original essay and give a taste of some of the best place-based writing, sounds and images from around the world.


See the latest editions of our Field Guide:


Vol. 37 - Architecture

Architecture is the rare art form designed for the most massive of scales; yet we are rarely attuned to the stories behind the structure. Read about one of Russia’s most interesting artistic movements, the Paper Architects. Also, explore “Africa’s Camelot,” and discover architecture as an Olympic sport.

Vol. 36 - Jewelry

When we wear jewelry we rarely think of the stories behind the sparkle: the workshop where it’s fashioned; its history. Take a deeper dive into jewelry—from the earliest human adornments, to its use as currency.

Vol. 35 - Favorite Places

Dmitry Bykov still loves Lenin Hills—a place he describes as “pure poetry.” He waxes lyrical about an area of the city that gives him unbridled joy. Also, explore some famous favorite places, and how they have cemented their place in history.

Vol. 34 - First Nations

Recognizing the histories of indigenous people—and the present challenges their communities face.

Vol. 33 - Moscow

What is Moscow today? Its clean, bright, renovated streets evoke European grandeur and wealth. There are more sophisticated eateries, designer boutiques and new shops. Yet while Moscow dines and dances, the state continues to repress, obfuscate and censure.

Vol. 32 - War Zones

War zones as experienced by the fighters who arrive there and the people who watch their homes transform.

Vol. 31 - Immigrant Experiences

From the UAE, to Canada, to China, how the different challenges to creating a new home.

Vol. 30 - Poetry

Celebrated in Scotland since 1802, the Burns Supper—during which friends gather to eat haggis and recite the poetry of its national poet, Robert Burns—is now an event observed the world over. We asked Scottish poet Marion McCready to explain what it’s all about.

Vol. 29 - Whiskey

Whiskey: it conjures up images of smoky bars and mafiosos sipping single malts, cigars in hand; or perhaps of the remote Isle of Mull and Scottish seafarers transporting barrels across the inlet to the mainland.

Vol. 28 - Subcultures

Kike Arnal’s photo essay chronicling Mexico City’s goth culture—as well as Rowena Bali’s illuminating essay—got us thinking about the fascinating (usually youth) subcultures that are out there.

Vol. 27 - New Year's Traditions

Find out how new year is celebrated in Ecuador—a tradition that includes the burning of effigies that represent the past. But this theme of “out with the old, in with the new” is something that is replicated the world over.

Vol. 26 - Boxing Day

Boxing Day is absolutely not an occasion for gathering around a TV and watching a world title bout. (Except when it is.) Read all about December 26th—not generally celebrated in the US, but which is a cause for more booze and food in the UK and its former colonies. Merry Day-after-Christmas.

Vol. 25 - Spices

Read an extract from Gary Nabhan’s book Cumin, Camels, and Caravans, in which the author hikes across a desert in Oman hunting down spices.

Vol. 24 - Aviation Chronicles

Fictio Legis, a short fiction piece by award-winning Mexican author Valeria Luiselli, leads our Guide devoted to air travel and airports. Learn the dangers of “jet blast,” the world’s shortest passenger flight and what a poet makes of airplanes used as weapons of war.

Vol. 23 - The Precious Resource

Examine how access to reliable water sources is a worldwide issue.

Vol. 22 - Tattoos

Celebrate man's fascination with body art—including a gallery of enticing images shot by Mexican documentary photographer Federico Gama.

Vol. 21 - Oysters

From the food of the poor to the food of the rich, the mollusk has been immortalized by everyone from Lewis Carroll to Shakespeare. Alexander Wooley investigates the fascinating (and unlikely) journey of Namibian oysters.

Vol. 20 - Mexico City

From the popularity of pre-Hispanic libations to the crush of traffic to the popularity of bullfighting, get a glimpse of both the vibrance and the darkness of the Mexican capital.

Vol. 19 - Voting

The act of voting around the world: Zimbabwean writer and political analyst Jacquelin Kataneksza on the power of the vote—even when it doesn’t immediately bring the change you want.

Vol. 18 - Campaign Stops

Why journalists embrace “diner journalism” during campaign season, “hologram campaigns” in India, and stadium rallies in Iran, where candidates are “treated like rock stars.”

Vol. 17 - Museums

Two museums, two very different takes on events that profoundly affected the countries involved.

Vol. 16 - Film

Read about Kampala's thriving film scene, China's first film studio and the first feature film from Australia.

Vol. 15 - Water, Water, Everywhere

We meet an artist who lived in a floating egg—yes, an egg—as well a city on stilts and experiences of water's healing power and meaning.

Vol. 14 - Desert Dwellers

From the Wayuu of Colombia to the Thar women of India, meet those around the world who live on the arid, rugged land.

Vol. 13 - Solitude

Discover the countries where a majority of residents live alone, meet the Last True Hermit and learn what it's like to set sail with nothing but a fishing rod and a laptop.

Vol. 12 - Beauty

Outer Mongolia, Siberia, Afghanistan, Nigeria. Certain places have become synonymous with remoteness, boredom, danger or simply somewhere you just wouldn’t want to go. But what’s the real story?

Vol. 11 - Cross-cultural pollination

Korean pop in Morocco; Mexico's San Juan Chamula; Summoning smells of Indian cuisine from a new home in Paris.

Vol. 10 - DIY Disaster

Taking a look at the do-it-yourself attitude that drives disaster victims to become their own rescuers.

Vol. 9 - Armchair Travel

Social media and fancy camera phones mean there are few parts of the world left unphotographed and hashtagged. Welcome to #ArmchairTravel2.0

Vol. 8 - Darkness

For centuries, the night has been writerly shorthand for sadness, evil or death, but the time between dusk and dawn is restorative.

Vol. 7 - Food Fusion

Food is an integral part of culture, and as cultures change and blend with others, new takes on traditional cuisines emerge.

Vol. 6 - World Cup

Geopolitical gamesmanship on a massive scale, what it means to play for Nigeria and why Greenland can't join in on all the fun.

Vol. 5 - African Diaspora

In recent years, indigenous African traditions—such as Vodun, Candomblé, Lucumí (sometimes called Santería) and others—have seen a resurgence, as young people across the African diaspora try to reconnect with their spiritual roots.

Vol. 4 - Cemeteries

The public spaces where we bury our dead.

Vol. 3 - Refugee Crossings

Refugees often live in temporary camps that can become permanent homes. Many make dangerous journeys on foot or makeshift boats, only to face more uncertainty.

Vol. 2 - Fishing

From the peaceful pastime to the booming industry, the many ways to examine catching fish.

Vol. 1 - Guidebooks

Just what is the difference between tourists and travelers?

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